Saturday, October 17, 2015


What is worse?
Or the thought of it?
I think it's a tie.

When you live in some level of pain on a daily basis even the thought of going to the grocery store is sometimes a bit overwhelming. Now try taking a long trip. I read through travel tips online and read books. I know in my head what to do and what not to do. Did I listen to any of it?


I have to admit that I started to hyperventilate at the thought of being on an airplane for 13 hours. I take that back. I nearly passed out. The thought of being cooped up in a cigar tube for that long just does not appeal to me whatsoever. I will talk myself out of having a good time just thinking about a plane flight.

I went to see my doctor and asked for a prescription of Valium. I truly needed it. I don't often ask my doctor for prescriptions like this. He knows me well and if I ask, well, he knows I've got a good reason for it. Years ago my former husband and I were coming back home and it was a real bad flight. I wasn't nervous....air turbulence happens all the time. It was when the pilot opened the cockpit door (many years ago wasn't it?) pointed and told the flight attendants to get down. He shouted that command. Then the plane nearly flipped on its side and people started screaming.

Then I got scared.

Ever since then I haven't loved flying. I know in my head that it is safer than a car but it's that darn control thing that continually pops up. People always say that "if it's your time there's nothing you can do," but my comeback is, "what if it's the other guys time?"  I'm almost positive that if I was in the cockpit I'd be fine but, well....ok.....I'm a control freak and it isn't going to happen. 

Most travel tips tell you to get the aisle seat. If that's where you feel the most comfortable by all means follow that advice. For me the aisle seat is next to death. I feel surrounded. I, personally, like the window seat. I look out and see endless sky and that makes me feel less encumbered. I know it's a pain when I have to crawl over anyone to get to the bathroom but I love looking out of the window. The other thing that is necessary for those in pain is to get a bulkhead seat. You can stretch your legs out and it makes flying economy bearable. 

It's also very important to stay hydrated. Dehydration makes your tissues more sensitive and since you can't take liquids past security I got a S'well bottle. They are a little costly but they are worth every penny. They do keep liquids ICE COLD for 24 hours. After I passed through security I went to the bar and had them give me some ice and fill it with water. It's nice to have water handy so you don't have to wait for the attendants and the beverage cart. I've heard that iced drinks aren't real popular in Europe so I figured this bottle would keep me sane and I wouldn't have to be always searching for ice.

I found a travel purse on Amazon. It was made by a company called Daymakers and it was their BeSafeBag. I has separate compartments for phones, tablets, documents and even RFID security. This purse was WONDERFUL and it feels comfortable over your shoulder. It wasn't heavy or cumbersome at all and I really had it filled.  I had a small issue arise and the company sent me another. It is rare that you find a company that stands behind their products; no questions asked. I would recommend them just like I do Costco and Nordstrom. Not many companies do this and they deserve a huge shout out. 

I've also found out that under no circumstances do you try to anticipate the amount of pain you will be in and bring everything under the sun to combat it. I have several tens units. That in itself is fine but I brought all three of them so I wouldn't have to continually charge them. In the event the converter didn't work I wanted to be prepared. I also decided to put a ton of makeup in the carry on, you know, just in case my bags got lost. I didn't want to be without that! Then there were the prescriptions of antibiotics, muscle relaxers, converters and adapters that also went into the carry on. 

Enter the carry on bag that weighed 20 pounds.

Now, lets talk luggage. Just because you can take up to 50 lbs. doesn't mean you should. I don't care if it has 2 or 4 rollers, when you have to roll those bags into the airport, combined with the carry on and let's not forget the purse that you've crammed your ipad, wallet, iPhone, documents and more makeup and prescriptions into you look like a pack horse. Also, you hurt like hell even before you get on the plane.

By the time I got to the gate I was in full snarl mode.

I tried to pack smart. I really did. I'm comfortably monochromatic so every black t-shirt I owned went in there along with some sandals, flats and tennis shoes. Also, I didn't need three pairs of jeans, shorts, sweaters and jackets in case it got cold and dress clothes complete with heels. Am I nuts?  I also didn't account for the gifts I'd be bringing back. So, there was the purchase of another small bag to hold the things I brought home. 

Let's face it. I totally screwed up. As I wheeled that bag through train stations and airports I was ready to throw it over a cliff. If I hadn't packed clothes I really loved, I probably would have. I didn't need most of the things that I packed. I didn't use most of the things that I packed. All I did was carry it around and cursed myself for doing it. I also didn't account for the fact that on a train it goes in the overhead compartments. I should have had my head examined. 

By the time I left I had made myself crazy and that wasn't necessary either. I was so concerned about what I might need that I totally buried the reason for the vacation. Did I need something to wear for every single day? No, there are laundry services. The only thing I did was make myself more work there and more work when I got home. 

Maybe I've been on hypervigilance for so long that I forgot how to have fun. I have realized that it doesn't do any good to overthink the process. Days will come and go and worrying about what might happen or how I might feel doesn't do any good. I don't need to take anything more than I absolutely need because it's a trip not a change in geography. I don't need to take everything I own....just in case. 

Always remember that you will have to lug around everything you pack. Even if it's from the car to the curb it will be too heavy for you. I still had pain and had to pace myself just like I do at home and it wasn't the end of the world if I had to stop and rest. There are long lines everywhere and it's imperative to take it easy. Just getting through customs can be daunting. The lines were VERY long. The best thing I did was to get the TSA PreCheck done. We sailed through and it was worth it. No taking off shoes and coming back into the country was a visit to a kiosk and then handing the receipt to the agent. Again, worth it. 

Have I learned anything about traveling?  Some things yes and others no. Type A squared and I just don't seem to get it. I need to commit to small suitcases and realize that the world won't end if I don't take a ton of know....for every occasion and every weather condition.

What didn't change?

I was always in some level of pain.

Same as home.

I over-thought the process.

Same as home.

I was overly concerned about what "could" happen. 

Same as home.

So what did I accomplish?



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